Roger Simonsson, the new CEO of Swedish Hydrotechnology specialist Aquajet Systems AB, says that European sales for the company’s Hydrodemolition robots have doubled since the start of 2015.
“There has been a huge and very sudden in increase in awareness and demand,” he says. “In fact, since May of this year, the demand has actually tripled, but if we take our figures across the entire year then certainly European sales have doubled.
“New regulations in Europe now mean severe penalties for transgressors. For a company calculating the cost of possible injury to personnel, the investment in robot technology can mean all the difference to a company’s profitability, and even to its survival.
Investment in robotics, as in so many other sectors, can totally transform the speed and efficiency with which a company does a job.
This in turn enhances the image of the company, and its marketability,” says mr Simonsson.
Parts of Asia are also beginning to appreciate the advantages of Hydrodemolition robots. Hong Kong and Singapore are the two leaders in terms of purchasing Aquajet units, with efficiency, manpower reduction and safety driving both markets.
“Actual sales are still modest in Hong Kong and Singapore, but we are now seeing companies there drawing up their budgets for next year, and factoring in the purchase of this kind of equipment,” says Mr Simonsson.
“Australia is also proving to be a good market for us, with outstanding potential. The only market for us that is not yet changing is the United States, which tends to have its own established practices, but our understanding is that this will change. Canada however has far more of a European attitude and is another area of great potential.”
The new generation of company owners and CEOs is helping to drive the market, as the younger executives have grown up with the concept of remote control technology and worker safety, rather than the older methods of employing a large workforce to carry out work in dirty, noisy and sometimes dangerous conditions.
“Younger entrepreneurs and managers understand instinctively the safety and the quality aspects,” says Mr Simonsson.
To deal with the huge upsurge in demand, Aquajet has refreshed its own corporate structure to make it more flexible and responsive to market demands.
The distributorship network is being reorganised, with low-performing dealers released and the relationship with successful dealers being enhanced to partnership status. Aquajet’s website, which has always focused on practical aspects of the technology, is being revamped to bring the names of the distributors to more prominence.
“We are working hard with the best and the most loyal of our dealers, and giving them every possible help we can to make them even more successful,” says Mr Simonsson.
He says this is a good time to take over as CEO of Aquajet.
“I have been a member of the board at Aquajet for the past two years and I have seen how the markets are moving forwards, and how the image of robotic hydrodemolition is achieving such a high profile,” he says.